KATHMANDU: National Human Rights Commission’s Chairman Anupraj Sharma has asserted that enforcing the important aspects of the constitution remained challenging in the country.
Addressing a talk programme organized by Freedom Forum on the occasion of the 26th World Press Freedom Day in the capital city on Thursday, Chairman Sharma argued that although the federalism was implemented in the country, the mentality of people were still centralized thereby causing difficulty in implementing the beautiful and important aspects of our constitution.
“Although full press freedom is mentioned in the constitution’s preamble, proviso can pose risk on journalists,” said Sharma. Stating that press also meant human rights defenders, he said that they have been struggling for safeguarding human rights in collaboration with the press.
Sharing that the Human Rights Commission Act was being amended, he argued that if the Act was passed in as it was prepared so far, it would suppress all the constitutional rights of the NHRC.
Similarly, Rastriya Janata Party Nepal leader Brikhesh Chandra Lal expressed worry that press freedom was in risk at present in Nepal. He however said his party was fully committed to press freedom. Though in small size in the parliament, RJP Nepal keeps close observation whether press freedom and freedom of expression are protected or not, he underscored.
Likewise, Bibekshil Nepal Party’s coordinator Ujjawal Thapa blamed that the government was trying to suppress press freedom and right to information by not providing information to the public. “A broader democratic network comprising media, academia, political parties, CSO is essential to protect press freedom, to protect democratic values in the country,” he emphasized.
President of the Federation of Nepali Journalists Govinda Acharya opined that impunity relating to crimes against journalists was not addressed in the country as no action was taken against the murderers of journalists.
On the occasion, an annual report documenting the cases of violation of press freedom from May 2018- April 2019 in Nepal was released. As many as 158 journalists were directly affected due to 104 violation of press freedom, according to the report prepared by Freedom Forum.
In the previous year, there were only of 66 cases of press freedom violations, the report added.
On the occasion, Freedom Forum Chairman Hari Binod Adhikari and Executive Chief Taranath Dahal univocally said time has come to work together for free press to strengthen democracy in Nepal. Political will power is equally important to address impunity, they argued.
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